When the news came of interuniverse contact, the censorship bureau immediately threw a party, because they knew what this meant: alien fiction! From completely novel literary traditions, completely uninfluenced by Ozytopians! New tropes! New genres! New visions of beauty!
Nela had, of course, applied for the Alien Fiction Censorship Bureau, along with an estimated 95% of liturgy monks. (80% of the remaining had intended to apply for the Alien Fiction Censorship Bureau, but failed due to executive dysfunction.) Her resume was excellent: she had spent fifteen years at the Censorship Bureau, ten of them working with tricky classifications, where she was three standard deviations above the mean with regards to how many of her decisions were overturned on appeal; she had afterward spent five years on liturgy, where she had written three well-regarded hymns and two books of daily reflections.
Nevertheless, she had screamed loud enough that her neighbors issued a noise complaint when the email came saying that she was chosen.
She sits down to her first day of work with eager anticipation.
Her opinion, of course, wouldn't be decisive, not for something like this. Each book was sent to ten random readers, to estimate interrater reliability; only if everyone agreed would a book be issued a nihil obstat*, much less an imprimatur.** The primary purpose of the Alien Fiction Censorship Bureau was to teach monks about the kind of books that aliens wrote, so that they could come together in committees and form preliminary guidelines from an informed point of view.
Before any sort of multiverse fiction trade happened, the other worlds had of course been informed of the handful of things that were No Seriously Completely Illegal in ozytopia (weight and calorie numbers, instructions on how to commit suicide or acts of terrorism, etc). Authors had been asked not to send books that didn't follow those rules (although of course they were welcome to censor weight and calorie numbers). One thing they planned to learn was whether the aliens could be trusted to follow instructions about this. Nela didn't expect to be vulnerable, though. She had no eating disorders. The Adjusting To The Existence Of Aliens Committee, Monk Reallocation Subcommittee had repurposed the screenings normally used for doctors and nurses, to determine if your suicidal and homicidal ideation was rare enough that it was safe for you to have a medical education, and Nela had passed with flying colors. (It was too bad she threw up at the sight of blood, really.)
What alien books are there for her to read?
*A book must have a nihil obstat to be available on the public Internet or in bookstores. To obtain a book which wasn't given a nihil obstat, you must specially order a paper catalog, attaching proof that you are over the age of sixteen. Of course, these days they are also available behind VPNs.
**An imprimatur indicates that a book is considered educational, morally improving, or otherwise the sort of thing people Should Read. There is a website with all imprimaturs listed, alongside a spoiler-free explanation of what you would learn from the book in question.
[If you enjoy this thread, you may also enjoy "the invisible dragon in our garage is impermeable to flour."]